All content on this blog has been created or properly cited by Dr. Adam Cathcart, who managed to claw his way through thirteen years of public education and four university degrees without resorting to plagiarism or academic dishonesty. The closest he (I) ever came to crossing this line was in receiving assistance from my magnificent pianist and partner in chamber music, Fred Kwok, in voicing a fugue in a Cleveland Institute of Music practice room in 1998.
As for my present line of work (university professor of Chinese history), I was not born speaking or reading Chinese and it takes a constant (often losing) effort to keep my current skill set intact and branching into new fields of inquiry such as the modern history of Tibet, or consolidating knowledge of a dynamic field of study like China’s relations with North Korea. I didn’t get here by ripping off sentences from Jonathan Spence, or spending all night playing video games, thus necessitating intellectual theft from Yale’s Sinologist emeritus. I also maintain an active performance schedule as a classical cellist, and, no less, this is something that simply cannot be faked: you either get the job done and move people’s hearts and minds, or you stink.
Which is all to say that plagiarism of this blog is not simply lazy or intellectually dishonest, it is bullshit. Today I received my first hits from turnitin.com, a software which detects plagiarism, which indicates to me that some sorry undergraduate has seen fit to copy-paste my work and represent it as their own. (If you’re a graduate student ripping me off, good luck changing the coffee filters in the gas station; if you’re a high school student, stop smoking crack, learn another language, and write your own papers.) Which leads me of necessity to my new plagiarism policy:
If you are detected plagiarizing from this blog, I expect an e-mail (to email@example.com) explaining what you did and why you did it. I want a copy of your assignment. I want to know what about my work you couldn’t resist, but refused to cite. I want a simple apology. Look at it as a learning opportunity to have some contact with someone who writes every day, who takes ownership of the content of his work. Because our minds are sovereign entities and, I suppose, we have already exchanged ideas. Perhaps you are just looking for a collaborator on a project you’re working on? If you were to read this blog regularly, you would probably realize that I enjoy crazy projects and celebrate unlikely alliances. I suppose I’m glad you found my work interesting, but I also find it galling if not downright humorous that you thought you could pass off my wickedly distinctive and insurmountable authorial voice as your own.
If you are an instructor — a university professor in particular — I’m quite sure you’re busy, but I would greatly appreciate a heads-up from you (firstname.lastname@example.org) about your case since I may be interested in contacting your plagiarizing student just to say hello and to reemphasize those values of academic integrity which are at the core of our enterprise.
A final word to the plagiarist, as plagiarism in some ways represents a deep challenge: If you want to take me on in the field of technique, let’s throw down, seriously. I think I can outwrite you in terms of quantity and quality, like, over a period of years during which you might somehow get your shit together and then start actually writing. Let’s have a contest, seriously. Stop f***ing around! Je desteste ça!!@!@!